young strides in the game | sandeep lamichhane
STAR BOWLER AT DELHI DAREDEVILS
The world of cricket is well documented, both on and off of the pitch. The tabloid press delivers gossip, rumors, and achievements on every club and player possible within the game, surrounding the players in camera-ready positions with trigger happy paparazzi snoopers at all times, adding pressure to an already high-intensity profession. Despite all of this, it’s nearly every boy’s dream to pull on their favorite team’s kit and one day play under the flood lights themselves.
But how do you get there?
We sat down for an exclusive interview with Sandeep Lamichhane, bowler for The Delhi Daredevils in the acclaimed Indian Premier League, and a star in everyone’s eye who exhibits a hard determination for the Nepalese Cricket Team. We got to the naked truth on becoming a star bowler, overcoming the huge hurdles, keeping focused when surrounded by challenges and distractions, and what life is like when one is known world over especially at a young age. Lamichhane is a highly inspirational player and someone any aspiring cricketer should be looking up to for sheer determination and dedication.
Sandeep’s story started much like how most of ours do and shape over the years. The basic synopsis: School and then the Field. However, the majority of us do not know what we want to do when we finish our education – let alone when we’re halfway through. The few who do know what they want to do in their lives often rethink their choice as they develop and grow, and more often than none, end in something completely different than what they had planned. Who we are now may not be who we may be in the future. The education and recruitment system paves a myriad of paths for us and, though more the merrier, we just end up in a muddle. We lose ourselves in the over whelming options we can opt for and structure our lives.
Yet, there are a lucky few like Sandeep who have found what they want to do, are striving to get there, and are also getting there.
Now, we must understand that sports as a career choice is something that’s frowned upon by the average Nepalese household. The conventional idolization of the ‘daktar-enginir’ still persists, stigmatizing other alternatives. For Sandeep, this was the case as well. When we asked him how his family saw his aspirations, he said that they didn’t take it seriously or as a realistic profession. “However, it was certainly my number one dream. I was naturally more talented with cricket and other sports as a youngster, and probably had more chances at excelling in those. But my heart was always set on cricket.” It probably didn’t take long for his parents to realize his potential and begin to see Cricket as a realistic option and that he can make a living out of it.
“I started playing cricket from a very young age. I like to believe that my initiative into the game at a young age kindled my love and passion for it. And now, it is what has been driving me to my success in the game.” Sandeep is just 17 years of age. Perhaps saying ‘just’ is unjust and even underestimating, but it also indicates that that the sureness he has at such a young age is astonishing. When we asked him if there were any other considerations to where he would take his life, he said, “I have never thought or even wondered if cricket wasn’t for me. Cricket has always been something that has made me content. So, why change? It’s something I have always wanted to do and what I have always done. I want to play cricket all the time. I can not see myself being anything else than a cricketer.”
Much like anyone in their childhood, Sandeep spent his days playing the game anywhere and everywhere; on the streets with a pile of bricks as the wicket, in the class room with a notebook and a paper ball. “If I had given up doing that, I would probably be in the streets of my hometown just wandering here and there, and regretting every bit of that decision.”
Everyone has a dream to meet the figures they idolize. A kid who air-guitars while in the private asylum of his poster plastered room dreams of shredding with his favorite band. But as they grow up, their walls become bare thinking that meeting their idol will not go beyond a brief autograph. The dreams of ripping out mad solos reduce to replicating them in solo. Only a few actually ever get to run with them. And then there’s Sandeep. He has met almost everyone he has lined up to get a glimpse of. “When I first started training and playing with them, I was awestruck. It felt surreal to wear the colors and run around with these guys.”
It may seem like he is showing off at this point. But he adds that by being a part of the same team they are in and calling each other as friends, he has realized that they are no different. They may have an aura of fame and superiority to them, but they are as human as everyone. They are as humble, as down to earth, and as normal as every one of us. “Then again, I have to pinch myself every now and then because now I too walk with that aura of fame. I too am a part of something the world admires.
Lamichanne has been a part of the Delhi Daredevils since Jan 2018, but there’s nothing that makes him prouder than wearing the national jersey and heading out into the field to face the world. “I feel that for us, the game is more about being brought together by our collective notion of patriotism, rather than actually winning or losing the match. And for me personally, it’s all about playing with your countrymen.”
WHEN I FIRST STARTED TRAINING AND
PLAYING WITH THEM, I WAS
AWESTRUCK. IT FELT SURREAL
TO WEAR THE COLORS AND
RUN AROUND WITH THESE GUYS.
With that being said, in no way is he trying to downsize his involvement with the Delhi Daredevils. He says that playing for a prestigious team has always been one of his greatest dreams. “Not only am I lucky to be a part of the Delhi Daredevils, but it is a great opportunity as well. I feel like I can learn more and hone my instincts to be better than ever before. Being here has made me feel what a world class competition is.
It is undeniable that being in a pitch like this, being surrounded by glamor and fame is inevitable. And, as the saying goes, fame changes people. When we asked him his stand on this matter, he coolly replied that he was in fact fearful that thing would change and it would be hard to reach an understanding with others, namely his friends and family. But he was relieved to have his fears disproved as he continued to come back to a welcoming home that understands him and his aspirations. “Fame has not affected my relationships because we still relate on a similar level, the way we always have. Sure, I don’t get to see them as much as I used to or want to, but they all know that it comes with the package of playing in the IPL. And moreover, they are supportive of what I am doing and accept it as a part of my identity. I am just grateful to be a form of inspiration and pride to the people here in my country and abroad.”
It would be wrong of us to acknowledge only him as the young mover and shaker. There are many others who have been making great strides while being in an age group where most would be scratching their heads wondering what movie or show they should catch up with after being done with a day of school. There are many more who are aspiring to make an impact as well.
THERE ARE A LOT OF
VIDEOS ABOUT ME
THE GAMES I’VE PLAYED.
SEEING MYSELF ON THE
SCREEN IS SOMETHING
I HAVE LEARNED TO GET
USED TO, BUT HEARING
TALK ABOUT ME IS STILL A
“My main piece of advice would be to make sure you have the support around you in order to have a successful career. My family has been my rock throughout my entire life and I couldn’t have made my career, or my life, without them. I also have a great group of friends whom I have known since I was in school, which helps me to remain well-grounded. So overall, I think that if you are happy off the pitch then you are happy on the pitch. Ensure you take some chill out time as well as you focus on your career. Just stick to what you want to do. There are going to be set back, no one said it’s a smooth road, and the only way to make it is to get through every bit of them. Keep your family and friends close and always remember their advice along the way, whether they’re good or bad.”
It sounds like Sandeep has it all under him. He is in control of his life and that life seems to be heading in the right direction. When we asked him if he feels like he’s made it, Now at 17, he replied that a lot have asked him this very question. And every time he’s confronted with him, he says, “I am paving the path, but I haven’t achieved everything I want to. And I will keep going to reach my goals.” This is an answer he plans to stick with though out the rest of his life.
WORDS: TNM TEAM | PHOTOS: GAURAV XHOMPATE SUNUWAR | LOCATION: HOTEL KATHMANDU INN | WARDROBE COURTESY: DENIM AND DEVILS